Trinity College is blessed with incredible professors who mentor and grow students across all disciplines. Get to know Catherine Pecoraro, our Assistant Professor of Chemistry who has taught at Trinity as an adjunct professor since 2008 and is the proud owner of a retired therapy dog.
Catherine Pecoraro (MA ’11), Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Q. What makes you passionate about chemistry?
A. Chemistry is everywhere. It’s all around us. It’s in medicine, it’s in healthcare, and it’s in environmental stewardship. It’s in our daily lives, from cooking to cleaning clothes. Everybody should take a class in chemistry because it’s so practical. It’s interesting and it’s fun. It excites me to understand how God created the world.
In my own studies I’m interested in biochemistry, and within that, enzyme kinetics and enzymology of metabolic pathways. I’m also intrigued by environmental science, such as the chemical analysis of anions and cations and natural water streams and rivers.
Q. What was your college experience?
A. I majored in Chemistry at Purdue University in West Lafayette in 1993. In 2000, I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with my doctorate in Biochemistry. And then in 2011, I got an MA in Christian Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School!
Q. What misconception about your field would you like to correct?
A. Many people approach Chemistry as just a list of facts to learn. But if students instead approached science thinking of how it applied to their lives and recognizing some of its applications, I think they would become more motivated to learn.
I understand that the subject can be intimidating, but if God created it and wants to give us wisdom to understand his natural world, then he will enable us to do that! We don’t need to be afraid.
“I really appreciate different aspects of Trinity, such as their orthodox theology, commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, and the academic insights placed on science and faith integration.”
Q. What is your favorite part of teaching at Trinity?
A. The students, the faculty, and the chapel are three highlights! First, I love being with students in the lab. It gives us a more relaxed opportunity to enjoy hands-on learning and get to know each other. Plus, Trinity’s labs are really well-organized and well-kept compared to other institutions! The faculty here are some wonderfully smart, intelligent people. Interacting with them is lovely. And lastly, the opportunity to go to chapel in the middle of a work week and worship God is really, really neat.
Q. What is something you don’t think your students would guess about you?
A. I was a chaplain for five years. I served at the Advocate Health Care system at Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington and at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for five years. While I did that, I adjunct taught at Trinity. It was a really neat ministry opportunity!
Q. What are your hobbies? Do you have any pets?
A. I love to train my dog, a poodle named Charis! He’s a really good boy and worth his weight in gold because he’s a retired therapy dog. He used to work with special needs kids at school. He’s fourteen years old but still very sharp. I like to do rally obedience with him, which is a sporting activity that you can do with your dog.
I also participate in a Bible study at my church, so I get together with my friends and sometimes we’ll go walking or biking. Vegetable gardening is a hobby of mine too and I like to cycle in the spring, summer, and fall. Visiting family is important to me as well.